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European Pied Flycatcher

Pied Flycatcher
Scientific classification
Family: Muscicapidae
Species: hypoleuca
Binomial name
Fidecula hypoleuca

The Pied Flycatcher, Fidecula hypoleuca, is a small passerine bird in the Old World flycatcher family. It breeds in most of Europe and western Asia. It is migratory, wintering mainly in western Africa.

The breeding male is mainly black above and white below, with a large white wing patch, white tail sides and a small forehead patch. The African race, Fidecula hypoleuca speculigera, and Fidecula hypoleuca iberiae of central Spain have a larger forehead patch and a pale rump. Non-breeding males, females and juveniles have the black replaced by a pale brown, and may be very difficult to distinguish from other Fidecula flycatchers.

The bill is black, and has the broad but pointed shape typical of aerial insectivores. As well as taking insects in flight, this species hunts caterpillars amongst the oak foliage, and will take berries. It is therefore a much earlier spring migrant than the more aerial Spotted Flycatcher, and its loud rhythmic and melodious song is characteristic of oak woods in spring.

They are birds of deciduous woodlands, parks and gardens, with a preference for oak trees. They build an open nest in a tree hole, and will readily adapt to an open-fronted nest box. 4-10 eggs are laid.

The very similar Atlas Flycatcher, Fidecula speculigera, of the mountains of north west Africa was formerly classed as subspecies of Pied.